Brooks, Martha. True Confessions of a Heartless Girl. Harper Teen, 2004. ISBN 978-0060594978 216 pp. $
It is hard to write anything that does any justice to the lyrical beauty of Martha Brooks’ True Confessions of a Heartless Girl. This is the first book of hers that I have read and I can tell you that I have just about all of her others on hold right now and I am playing eeny meeny miney mo to decide which ones to bring on the plane home with me next week.
This book follows an exciting trend I have noticed lately (and maybe it has been written about in SLJ or VOYA or Horn Book) of awesome adult characters in teen literature. Some authors are acknowledging the fact that there are some cool adults out there who are experienced in the ways of the world and capable of understanding what a trouble teenaged soul is going through. Take Noreen, for example. She’s an angstful teen–and rightly so with Stupidhead the step-father and her mom, “Amazing” Grace. She shows up in the small town of Pembina Lake without a hope in the world and is taken in by some of the locals: Lynda, Dolores, Del, Seth and the dog, Tessie.
Despite the fact that everything Noreen touches turns into a huge disaster, these strangers want to help her. They refuse to not help her. That’s not to say they aren’t human, they talk about the fact that Noreen is such trouble. And worry about her. But due to each of the adult character’s own regrets, burdens, and tragedies, they realize that this girl needs help and they stand by her. The characters are deep and true and human. Noreen is a gem. This book is for your YA patrons.